Man says TRIDENT is lying in heroin case against him
A Carbondale man accused of being part of a local heroin ring says the drug agency that arrested him is lying about the case against him.
Shanti Waldrop, 33, said he intends to have his day in court and will refuse a reported plea bargain offered by the district attorney’s office.
“I am not guilty,” Waldrop said Thursday during an interview at The Aspen Times office.
Waldrop’s girlfriend, Chesley Seldeen, 38, also of Carbondale, has been hospitalized for nearly two weeks and is in a coma, Waldrop confirmed, but apparently not at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, as reported in Thursday’s Aspen Times.
Waldrop declined to discuss Seldeen’s condition, which friends have indicated is due to a drug overdose. He also declined to say which hospital she is in, citing a desire to keep visitations to a minimum.
A police officer stopped Seldeen on Oct. 9 while she was driving along Garfield County Road 100, also called Catherine Store Road, outside Carbondale. According to court documents, she appeared to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and after surrendering some alleged heroin to the officer, she was arrested on drug charges.
Agents with the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Task Force believe Seldeen and Waldrop were traveling to Denver frequently to pick up heroin for personal use and distribution in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Although news reports have indicated Waldrop was arrested at the same time as Seldeen, he said on Thursday, “I was not in the car when they arrested Chesley. I was at home.”
He said TRIDENT officers came to the house he shared with Seldeen after Seldeen had been arrested. He said the officers held him at gunpoint and searched his home, finding some “suspected marijuana” and related paraphernalia, and nothing else.
“They did not find heroin in my house, or on my person … or in my system even. I do not use heroin. I’m not part of any heroin ring,” he said. Court documents indicate TRIDENT officers found instruments they believed were “related to heroin use” at the house. Waldrop accused the agents of lying about what they found.
He also said that after his initial court hearing he was released on his own recognizance by Judge David Petre, meaning he did not have to pay any money at the time of his release. Garfield County jail records confirm he is free on his own recognizance, but say he will forfeit $7,500 if he does not comply with the conditions of his bond.
Waldrop said he was released because of “the utter lack of evidence in this case.”
“There is no heroin ring,” Waldrop said, “and [Seldeen] was never selling heroin.”
He said he and Seldeen had been visiting friends in Denver the day before the arrests. He said a TRIDENT informer had given Seldeen money to buy heroin for him in Denver, which Waldrop said is what the agents found on Seldeen when she was arrested.
According to court documents, TRIDENT agents claim Seldeen contacted two TRIDENT informants on Oct. 8 and offered to drive to Denver and pick up 3 grams of heroin for $300. The TRIDENT agents came up with the $300 and, listening via a wireless transmitter, claim to have heard Seldeen agree to go to Denver to get the heroin. Waldrop was not in Seldeen’s car when the arrangements were made between Seldeen and the informants, according to the court documents.
The agents, through the informants, reportedly set up a meeting for the early morning of Oct. 9 at Colorado Rocky Mountain School outside Carbondale. Seldeen failed to show up at the meeting, the officers wrote in an affidavit, and they ultimately arrested her after stopping her vehicle for failing to use her turn signal and failing to display a license plate on the front of her vehicle.
Waldrop’s attorney, Kathy Goudy, said she was appointed to the case only recently and was not familiar enough with it to discuss it in detail.
Goudy said she has yet to receive test results for the paraphernalia allegedly found in Seldeen’s home.
Seldeen’s attorney, John VanNess, said on Thursday he still had not heard from his client or her family about her condition.
Both Seldeen and Waldrop are charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute and unlawful use of heroin. Seldeen is additionally charged with conspiracy to deal heroin, and Waldrop is additionally charged with unlawful use of cocaine.
Possession with intent to distribute heroin is a class 3 felony with a range of two to 24 years in prison and a $3,000-$750,000 fine.
Possession of heroin is a class 3 felony with a range of two to 24 years in prison and a $3,000-$750,000 fine. Conspiracy to distribute heroin is a class 4 felony with a range of one to 12 years in prison and a $2,000-500,000 fine.
John Colson’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
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